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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The surname laird was first found in Berwickshire, a lieutenancy area and historic county on the Scottish Borders. Literally, the surname means a "laird" or "landlord" and is obviously an occupational surname. Another sources claim the name means "lord" as in "Lord of the manor," [1] but we feel the former translation is more appropriate. The earliest record of the name was Roger Lawird or Lauird of Berwick who made an agreement with the Abbey of Kelso relating to his land in Waldefgat, Berwick in 1257. [2]

Although the name, laird, appeared in many references, from time to time, the surname was shown with the spellings Laird, Lairde and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our laird research. Another 195 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1552, 1781, 1782 and are included under the topic Early laird History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early laird Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the laird family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Gradually becoming disenchanted with life in Ireland many of these uprooted families sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships often arrived with only 60 to 70% of their original passenger list, many dying of cholera, typhoid, dysentery or small pox. In North America, some of the first immigrants who could be considered kinsmen of the laird family name laird, or who bore a variation of the surname were

laird Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Alexander Laird, who arrived in New Jersey in 1741
  • Samuel Laird, who arrived in Carolina in 1755
  • Christopher Laird settled in Virginia in 1767 with his sons John, Samuel and Mary, and his wife Martha, they eventually moved to Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina
  • Richard T Laird, who landed in Massachusetts in 1783

laird Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Patrick Laird, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1800
  • John Laird, who arrived in South Carolina in 1801
  • Rachl Laird, aged 25, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Mary Laird, aged 24, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Marsisa DeLa Laird, aged 30, landed in New Orleans, La in 1836

laird Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. James Laird U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
  • Mr. John Laird U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he is listed with the Loyalists and Disbanded Soldiers whose names appear as Passamaquoddy New Brunswick Loyalists

laird Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Laird, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • James Laird, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Saint John NB aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Hannah Laird, aged 22, landed in Quebec in 1834

laird Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Robert Laird, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Alexander Laird, aged 36, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Navarino"
  • Fanny Laird, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Bee"

laird Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • W. Laird arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "James Lister" in 1865
  • James B. Laird, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874


  • Charlton Grant Laird (1901-1984), American ling Uist, lexicographer, novelist, and essayist
  • Gerald Lee Laird III (b. 1979), American Major League Baseball catcher for the Detroit Tigers
  • Peter Alan Laird (b. 1954), American comic book writer and artist, best known for co-creating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Melvin Robert (Bom) Laird (b. 1922), American politician, U.S. Secretary of Defense (1969-73) and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Marc James Peter Laird (b. 1986), Scottish footballer
  • William Laird (1780-1841), Scottish shipbuilder and developer, founder of what later became the Cammell Laird shipyard
  • Macgregor Laird (1808-1861), Scottish explorer and pioneer of British trade on the River Niger
  • John Keith McBroom Laird (1907-1985), Canadian author, barrister, and solicitor, Senator for Windsor, Ontario
  • David Laird (1833-1914), Canadian politician, Lieutenant Governor of Northwest Territories
  • Scott Benjamin Laird (b. 1988), English football defender



  • Laird Family by Edward Forrest Brouhard.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Spero meliora
Motto Translation: I hope for better things.


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)

Other References

  1. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  2. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  10. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  11. ...

The laird Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The laird Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 February 2016 at 11:47.

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